My Last Drink with Vance Johnson – The Road to Recovery from Addiction


I woke up in the morning from puking all night – blood. I grabbed the glass in the morning, and I thought it was some tequila. It was not tequila. It was piss. So looked over at the vodka so I could rinse my mouth out and I remember hearing my dog whining at the door. and I said I can’t do it anymore, God. Tequila was empty, I had a half bottle of vodka sitting in front of me by the bed. I had another full bottle there and I was actually looking forward to the weekend, but I just couldn’t do it. I was going to die. For two years, I drank and used until I used myself into a coma. There’s chains, I was chained to the bed. I remember crapping all over myself. They had to come in there and unchain me, rolled me over and wiped crap off of me. My then 7th ex-wife, called the NFL and said this guy’s killing himself and she, they reached out, the NFL did, to a rehab facility out in Florida and Randy Grimes former Tampa Bay Buccaneer called me and for three months, I just kept lying to him. And then one morning I woke up and realized there is just no way I can do this on my own. and that if there was help out there and that these rehab facilities really worked then I needed to try it out. And so I gave him a call and less than two days later, I was on the airplane heading to Florida to get some help. When I first got to rehab, I didn’t really, I didn’t want to, I was in such denial. When I first got there, the first five, six, seven, eight, nine, days I didn’t want to pay attention to anybody. Step one was realizing that just because you’re a pro football player, doesn’t make you better than the guys that you’re seeing in rehab. And that we all had a problem and that was this addiction, this illness, this sickness. We seriously had to realize that you couldn’t do anything about it. I remember after about 24 days of rehab, I started thinking about leaving and I was really concerned because I was in this safe environment where I got these tools I start to deal with things that I grew in and around. I started to get my health back and get my head back together where I was ready to return back home and I remember going out to the beach because they had these outings where we can go to the beach. and I remember walking out to the ocean and standing there and just feeling the water wash up towards my knees and feeling the sand under my feet and looking out and watching the boats go across the horizon I was thinking to myself: I don’t ever remember seeing anything like this before. For the first time in my life I was actually able to smell the air. You see things outside of whatever was boggling my mind because of the addiction that I was in. When I think of people who have hit that rock bottom, that there’s just no more hope and that they’re just waiting to just give up and die. This may be hard to hear, but actually that’s right where you need to be because at that moment you actually have some clarity where you have nothing to lose, so why not go ahead and be vulnerable and ask for the help that you need? And that’s when you can make that decision to go get help and then find sobriety. My name is Vance Johnson and I’m a former professional football player, drafted by the Denver Broncos in 1985. you

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